Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Rainy Day Murders Progress Report

On Monday, I completed the first full draft of The Rainy Day Murders (RDM) about John Norman Collins (JNC) and the Washtenaw County sex slayings of seven defenseless young women in the late 1960s.

The dark shadow of time has obscured the facts of this once prominent case that History seems to have unwittingly forgotten. Institutional neglect has taken its toll on the truth story of this case also. The trial transcripts have been purged, and no microfilm, microfiche, or digital files were made of these Washtenaw County court documents. It is tough for me to understand that.

Invoking The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), my researcher and I requested and received many documents from the Ann Arbor City Attorney's office, the Michigan State Police, the Michigan Department of Corrections (MDOC), and several other governmental agencies. 

Not honoring our FOIA requests at all were the State of California and the Ypsilanti City Attorney's Office. Their refusal to comply, for whatever reasons, forced us to seek information from other sources.


Lucky for us, the Ypsilanti Historical Society, the Halle Library on the campus of Eastern Michigan University, and the Ypsilanti Public Library archives were all open and available for our use. We have carefully gleaned facts and quotes from news clippings from across the state of Michigan to faithfully reconstitute the court proceedings.

Part one of The Rainy Day Murders will discuss the facts of each of the young women's cases including new living history accounts seasoned with forty-five years of hindsight. Part two of this book will be the restored court proceedings of these murders from 1969-1970. Part three of RDM will cover an area never before written about to any great extent, JNC's prison years.

The prison years tells of Collins life and times behind bars and his attempts to legally and illegally get out of serving his full life sentence in Michigan prisons. This section also goes into his attempts to manipulate the media and shape public opinion. To round out the prison years, we have come into possession of twenty recent JNC prison letters which will add new information to the canon of this case.

At this writing, I plan to end the book with JNC's alibi defense claiming to his Canadian cousin that Collins was innocent of the murder of Karen Sue Beineman. He names the person who testified against him in court as her murderer and implicates this same person in two other murders. 

This makes for fascinating reading but my treatment of this case will be a true crime account; Collins' elaborate fantasy defense is clearly fiction. So this book will have something for everyone.

From the facts and circumstances presented, I leave it up to the reader to decide the guilt or innocence of JNC. The other six cases will never be formally brought against Collins. What's the use? He is locked down and his days are numbered.